The Internet Association — a lobbying group for companies including Google and Facebook — is planning to announce it will dissolve, according to a report in POLITICO.
In the mid-2010s, the group was at the forefront of the tech industry's efforts to influence Washington. It was a high-profile association of then-popular companies that often got its way, not just on behalf of social media but also ecommerce firms, cloud providers, gig-work apps and more. Even as late as 2019, its splashy gala honored Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ivanka Trump simultaneously.
Yet as the backlash to Big Tech intensified, IA struggled to address what became the key policy issues that the member companies confronted.
The bitter rivalries among IA's members (Google foes Microsoft and Yelp were both members over the years) led IA to avoid antitrust issues, even as Congress sped toward changes in competition law. At the same time, other tech groups, such as NetChoice and the Chamber of Progress, have moved to present tech companies' defenses on competition enforcement and structured themselves to ensure that potential conflicts between members wouldn't stop them from being vocal.
IA had also signed onto a compromise to amend Section 230 in 2017. Facebook also backed the change, but many other tech companies that rely on the provision's legal protections have bitterly complained about what they see as a capitulation by IA.
IA had been losing key members and staff for some time. Yelp eventually left the group, which the company has described as the result of IA's refusal to kick out its biggest members. Last year, the group's longtime president, Michael Beckerman, left for TikTok. IA has lost other staff since, and Microsoft and Uber both left the group last month.
The group's current president, K. Dane Snowden, is planning to discuss recent reporting about its troubles in a meeting on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with internal conversations.